For students who have participated in college athletics, they have most likely been athletes all of there lives. I have personally seriously participated in sports since the age of 5, so at this point practice and training are just an accepted part of my every day schedule.
It is hard to think of a time where the after school activity wasn’t going to practice, and the same thing goes for college athletics. Whether its waking up early to go to conditioning, running from class to practice, or showing up sweaty and panting to class, our daily lives tend to revolve around our sport.
However, as an upperclassman, I have to recognize that this will not always be the case. In a short year and a half, I will be graduating college and will be forced to accept that my days as a collegiate athlete are over. From what I have observed, there seems to be three phases of exiting student athletic life.
Phase One: Excitement
As your athletic career comes to an end, most athletes tend to feels some sort of excitement. The thought of not having to wake up at 6 a.m. to run sprints, dedicate all of your weekends to matches, and have most evenings ruled by practice can sounds pretty appealing after all.
Phase Two: Emotional Realization
As your final season comes to a close, I think it finally hits you that this season of your life is over. Last spring season, the final match for our seniors was incredibly emotional for both players and coaches. It’s a difficult realization that this is your last time competing at a collegiate level.
Phase Three: The Great Unknown?
Life after graduation is different for all athletes. Some continue to find ways to play their sport at a competitive level, while others will take an extended break from the sport. However, no matter how you live your life after college athletics, one thing is certain. You will never forget all of the experiences, friends, and memories that you made throughout the four years of being a college athlete.